I’ve photographed dozens of bands in the last few years but aside from a few semi-well known bands at iFest last year and a few Persian singers during informal shows, all of the other ones have been smaller bands in intimate settings. While it would be great to have a shot at a big show (Hey Depeche Mode, U2, Rolling Stones, give me press credentials!), I love informal shows where I can politely get close and take pictures.
Speaking of which, last night was an unofficial after-party to the very large Free Press Summer Fest show. I really didn’t have any desire to go to the big show with the heat and the expensive sold out tickets and such so I opted to go to the after-party and it was a lot of fun. Many many bands playing in basically what amounted to people’s apartments and a Doctor’s office.
By pure chance I saw Say Girl Say playing again:
I swear the Blackout Heist were playing in what used to be someone’s living room.
On a photography note, when you’re shooting at ISO 5000 like I was for many of these, you can bounce your flash off tree leaves and branches and it still adds a lot of nice fill light. Nobody even notices it because it’s so subtle but without it, these pictures would be pretty dull.
I was in the neighborhood so I thought I’d take a few pictures of the stages being set up for the 2013 FPSF concert in Houston. I’m not going to the show because it sold out and to be honest, I’m getting too old for staying under the hot sun all day getting blitz, but they do have a great lineup. Judging by what I saw though, if it’s sunny, it will be very dusty and if it rains even a little, because of all the construction around the paths, it will be a muddy mess and wash everything in the bayou.
The whole bayou area is a giant mess actually because they are upgrading the entire area now and many sidewalks and pathways are closed. I was on my bike there last month and had to go off road several times so with thousands of people there, good luck!
I love art exhibit openings and the more informal the better. In the big shows, photography is usually frowned upon but at the smaller shows you can enjoy documenting the event while appreciating other people’s work in different mediums. Murals are especially interesting to me because they tend to be colorful and even though I am photographing someone else’s hard work, I love how the colors pop out. The best part however is meeting new people and especially chit chatting with the artists or even running into fellow photographers
All of these pictures were taken handheld and many of them using available light since it was pretty crowded and I didn’t want to plop down a tripod or bother people. Fortunately I could just bump up the ISO and nobody besides me would care about the slight increase in noise. For some of the shots, I did bounce the flash a little to get rid of harsh shadows.
This work was across the street from the museum.
Interesting work by Skeez181. He had two beautiful models dressed like the characters in the mural and it definitely added intrigue to the work.
Work by Anat Ronen.
DUAL – this is a very large piece of art taking up the entire wall
Flickr and I have had a love hate relationship over the years. I love their photography related groups and have met some wonderful photographers both online and in real life. Where else can you talk shop with photography legends like David Hobby? The part that I have never liked about flickr is their look. It just looks very outdated. They also don’t have enough tools for uploading/downloading or organizing pictures beyond the sets and groups. Perhaps this is done on purpose so the site is not mistaken for a backup site.
They also don’t have a portfolio maker so all the pictures you have are basically out there. Sure, you can make sets and such but it would be nice to be able to go to flickr.com/xxxxxuser/portfolio and just show your best stuff. Perhaps this is also done on purpose so the site is not mistaken for a professional photographer’s webpage and instead more of an everyday down to earth photographer.
The last major update they had was 3 years ago or so which really did very little to address what was wrong with the site and upon complaining in the help forum with someone who was friends with the staff, I was given a permanent timeout at which time I swore to never pay them for a Pro Account and for the most part, I have been ok with the old free account since I can link to my pictures on here and they still can be viewed even though on the actual site, only the last 200 were visible. I mean, it’s free and it’s always there so what’s there to bitch about?
I was also posting my best pictures on 500px because they have a much more modern look but no real community. They also have a portfolio for their super dooper accounts (whatever they call it) but I haven’t been too impressed by the look so I’ve held off. Yesterday, flickr announced their big change and it’s very similar to 500px’s look so I’m happy. Added to that is I get 1 TB of storage for free now and all my old pictures are back to life.
There will be complainers I’m sure, but I’m convinced that many early flickr users, especially the regulars to the flickr specific groups who may have known the original staff members are just upset that they no longer have any power and are just another user. Honestly, I never see any of them in the photography groups so they just like to brag about how much they know about the internal workings of flickr. Give it up guys and just go out and take pictures.
The pro plan is now $50 for the same 1 TB but without ads and a few other extras like stats. The next tear jumps up to $500 for 2 TB. Seems steep but if you’re the type to post 1 TB of JPGs, it’s probably worth it to you. Most people won’t get beyond 100 GB and that’s probably a good thing because if you’re posting 1 TB of pictures, they’re either not good, or you are using flickr as your main backup.
So in conclusion, thanks flickr. You finally are turning yourself around and may live to see another day. Check out my flickr at http://www.flickr.com/coogie
I am addicted to taking long exposure night pictures of the Houston Skyline. I have pretty much most angles of it from the ground and have perfected my methodology each time. When I first got my first DSLR, I tried handholding it but it didn’t work. Then I discovered using the tripod and using Aperture Priority mode and was shocked at how great the pictures came out. Then I discovered shooting in raw and fixing the white balance. Then I found out that if I shot it in manual mode, I would have better control. Next I upgraded my lenses and got an ultra wide angle lens and then a better one. Now days I’m focused much more on stabilization. I use my heavy tripod, remote shutter (or delay if I don’t have a shutter), and mirror up mode. It’s the difference between a sharp picture (see last picture) and ultra sharp picture (see front 3)
Finally, I think this was the perfect time. Sky is a deep steel blue. Any longer than this and the sky would be pitch black and the yellow street lights would overpower everything in the foreground.
This was taken in 2011 with my older Nikon D90 and 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. I like these…still, even when using the same techniques, the D600 does a much better job I think.
This was my second visit to Brazos Bend and this time I was there to do some bird photography. Bird photography is one of those areas where gear does matter – in particular you need the longest telephoto you can afford since birds tend to be far away and on the small side. For me, my longest telephoto lens is my Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D lens which is great for most things as it is a fast f/2.8 lens and very sharp; however, it’s not quite long enough for bird photography, especially on a full frame camera like the D600.
If I did bird photography exclusively, I would probably go for the new 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR (Sells for around $2600). It’s a consumer lens, but has very good reviews. If I were on a budget then I’d go with the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR which I actually used to own. In an ideal world, I’d go with the 200-400mm f/4 VR but that’s a $6000 lens so unless I win the lotto, or get hired by Nat Geo, then no.
My choice since I use the 80-200 far more than the above lenses was to try the Tamron SP 2x teleconverter. The SP designation is their pro quality stuff and from what I hear the Tamron and Kenko are rebranded and exactly the same (don’t quote me on that)…It’s not going to be as good as the lenses above for this particular purpose, but I found that if there is enough light, and I use a tripod and stabilization techniques, I can get some very sharp pictures.
Most of these were taken with that combination and cropped a little here or there. I thought about using the D90 and getting the 1.5x magnification but the D600 in crop mode gives me roughly the same resolution (it’d be 10 MP pictures vs. 12 on the D90). In that case, 2 measly megapixels wasn’t worth losing the dynamic range and high ISO capabilities of the D600. Since the 2x teleconverter changes my 80-200 f/2.8 lens into a 160-400mm f/5.6 lens, losing 2 full stops of light, I was shooting many pictures in higher ISOs like 800-1600 because I wanted to use a faster shutter speed to negate any camera shake (even with the tripod) and freeze motion of the moving subjects. Here are the results:
Yellow Crowned Heron
Black Bellied Whistling Duck
It’s not just about the closeups…
Finally a Snowy Egret
My favorite part is coming home and googling the names of the birds I photographed earlier. Learning something new every day